Fishdad's Reef Setup

FishDad

Superstar Fish
Mar 4, 2012
1,218
1
38
Cleveland
#1
I'll keep my questions and info for the new set up here in this thread to avoid overwhelming the new threads section.

Equipment on order:
72" T5 HO light ficture w/ LED's
4 Stage RO/DI Unit, 100gpd

Equipment Wish list:
CPR Aquatics CS50 Siphon Overflow Box
Octopus Needle Wheel Skimmer for Aquarium Filter, 6-Inch, 150-Gallon
EHEIM Compact Pump 5000, 1320 US Gallons (5000L)
Hydor Koralia Evolution 1400/1500 Aquarium Circulation Pump 1400-1500 GPH


My Cichlids are going south to Virginia. My wife is driving down there on Monday to see my bro-in-law who is also in the hobby. He just got into African cichlids and will be glad to provide a new home for them. So the tank will be empty. That's going to be strange. Let me tell ya, she was so thrilled when I told her that along with three kids she will be taking a few buckets full of fish with airstones plugged into the cigarette lighter.
 

FishDad

Superstar Fish
Mar 4, 2012
1,218
1
38
Cleveland
#2
Cichlids gone as of this morning. On there way to Virginia. I couldn't part with my red zebra and my red tail shark. They were my first two fish, so they have been re homed to my son's 55 gallon. I'll have to re think the stocking compatibility for that one though, but should be good for short term purposes.

Hopefully PSP is still having their $1/g sale. I might p/u a 55g this week and start working on the sump. For the first set of baffles I have seen/heard of two different styles to eliminate micro bubbles. Both with three baffles but in reverse. One has water going over/under/over and the other has water going under/over/under. Any one have a preference?
 

FishDad

Superstar Fish
Mar 4, 2012
1,218
1
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Cleveland
#4
I owe you one freshy. I was out running errands today and your post showed up un my phone. So I went and picked up a 55. But get this, I had to go to 3 different PSP to find one. The first two were cleaned out. Thanks buddy.

Your right about CL. Its ridiculous how much people want for just a tank. Today I even called Petsmart for a price on a 55g and they wanted $150 for just the tank.
 

FishDad

Superstar Fish
Mar 4, 2012
1,218
1
38
Cleveland
#7
OC I did look into that actually. Kind of creepy to have an Octopus in my living room. I'm pretty settled on a reef tank though. I like the variety of the fish and coral. Also I like the fact the it takes a few years to achieve a mature reef. That way I won't get bored with the set up. Plus this stuff is too expensive to just buy a bunch of coral and fish and be done. It takes time, I like that.
 

FishDad

Superstar Fish
Mar 4, 2012
1,218
1
38
Cleveland
#9
Well I know I'm not an artist and my wife is always complaining about my lack of patience so looks like I'm doomed. Maybe this will be a therapy project.

Btw, the light arrived today. I'll set it up later this evening and post a picture.
 

FishDad

Superstar Fish
Mar 4, 2012
1,218
1
38
Cleveland
#10
Well I got the light set up. The pic uploader isn't working right now for some reason. But its looks really sharp fills the tank nicely. I also purchased some "dead" live sand from someone on craigslist. I bought it b/c it had a look that I wanted. Sandy with seashells. Got a bunch of it for $20, but when I got it home and started washing it, turns out it was all anaerobic. My basement smells really bad right now. So I washed the hell out of it and added some of my old seashell substrate to it. I'm pretty happy with the look right now and the smell has subsided since the wash, thank god.
 

Newman

Elite Fish
Sep 22, 2009
4,668
0
0
Northern NJ
#11
good call on the wash. it probably could have driven your cycle, but since this is a gradual setup you should even worry about a cycle. it will happen and you will probably not even notice by the time you get around to putting CUC, corals and fish in it.
 

FishDad

Superstar Fish
Mar 4, 2012
1,218
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Cleveland
#12
Yeah I also just don't know what's in there. Wouldn't make sense not to wash it. I didn't know that anaerobic bacteria would drive a cycle. Good to know. I have always been under the impression that anaerobic is "bad".
 

Newman

Elite Fish
Sep 22, 2009
4,668
0
0
Northern NJ
#13
w/e was in the sand could provide ammonia for the cycle. if you had live rock in there, then bacteria from the LR would feed on this ammonia and would multiply in the rock and would spread to the sand quickly.
 

Feb 27, 2009
4,395
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#14
I have always been under the impression that anaerobic is "bad".
Once proper water flow is established, the anaerobic bacteria will die off and produce ammonia. In a stocked tank, this is VERY dangerous.

But for plants (fresh/brackish/salt), or for live rock (fresh/brackish/salt), it can be used as food. It is POSSIBLE to overdose ammonia and kill off the beneficial bacteria. It would take a lot though. Assuming no inverts or fish in the tank, the best thing is to just test the water parameters and if they stay 'stuck' high, then you know that the bacteria is overwhelmed. Water changes will bring that down and allow the bacteria to be cultivated quickly.

Even though the sand was washed, it could still contain a lot of bacteria, so checking the water parameters would be a good idea. :)
 

FishDad

Superstar Fish
Mar 4, 2012
1,218
1
38
Cleveland
#15
Understood.

I made some progress today. I've got an eshopps dual overflow rated at 800-1000gph plumbed into the sump. Also plumbed the sump pump. Got the RO/DI hooked up and have the tank about 1/4 of the way filled. The skimmer in en route. No turning back now.
 

FishDad

Superstar Fish
Mar 4, 2012
1,218
1
38
Cleveland
#17
Got a couple of questions that I can't seem to find any specific answers to online. Hope you guys can help...

1. Does my protein skimmer/pump need to be plumbed into anything for any reason? I've come across mentions of people stating that the return water from the skimmer must be above the water level, but I really couldn't get a clear explanation of that. Seems like some people had additional pvc attached to the skimmer pump return. Why would that be?

2. Currently the plumbing from my overflow into the sump delivers the water below sump water level. I've read that plumbing needs to be above water level for oxygenation purposes. My original thought of the water being delivered below level was intended to reduce noise but the oxygenation issue makes a lot of sense. So above water is the way to go?

3. My third query is more of a RFI. It seems that there is some vague, general consensus that the protein skimmer can't sit at the bottom of the sump and must be raised up to acquire proper functioning. I don't really get that. Why make them to sit at a level that they won't work at? And speaking of vague, every skimmer I have looked at has no marking of proper sump water level. They have a minimum level for internal water but not external. So how do you figure out that level? Like I said, I don't get it.

Thanks for the help again guys. Sorry for all the questions, but someone on this forum always has an answer.

Thanks again guys.
 

CAPSLOCK

Elite Fish
Jul 19, 2004
3,682
33
48
36
Cape Cod
#18
1. Does my protein skimmer/pump need to be plumbed into anything for any reason? I've come across mentions of people stating that the return water from the skimmer must be above the water level, but I really couldn't get a clear explanation of that. Seems like some people had additional pvc attached to the skimmer pump return. Why would that be?
I have read that as well - I had assumed it was so that it was operating properly - all the skimmers have a water depth they are supposed to be in. Mine is the reef octopus as well. The only think I can think of with the plumbing on the skimmer return is that it is actually plumbed to somewhere (which seems odd, maybe they are sending it to a reactor or something?) OR that it is splashing without the additional PVC. If it's the second reason, I'm in their boat - my skimmer is actually turned down to avoid splashing and I've been meaning to look up if I can stick an elbow on the skimmer output to avoid that and be able to increase the skimming.

2. Currently the plumbing from my overflow into the sump delivers the water below sump water level. I've read that plumbing needs to be above water level for oxygenation purposes. My original thought of the water being delivered below level was intended to reduce noise but the oxygenation issue makes a lot of sense. So above water is the way to go?
I have read that you want the plumbing to aim for 2" below the water line in the sump. You don't need the plumbing to end above the water for oxygenation (though I'm sure it does technically add oxygen). But just having water go down the plumbing and all the water movement through the sump / skimmer / general flow in a reef tank will give you plenty of oxygenation. I accidentally cut my drain line barely too short and that sucker splashed, was noisy, and got salt and droplets all over the inside of the stand. I got a piece of PVC to extend it 2" and it is much better. To be fair, if you stick a filter sock on the drain line it stops some of the noise, droplets, and salt all over - but not as much as having the darn tube long enough did.

3. My third query is more of a RFI. It seems that there is some vague, general consensus that the protein skimmer can't sit at the bottom of the sump and must be raised up to acquire proper functioning. I don't really get that. Why make them to sit at a level that they won't work at? And speaking of vague, every skimmer I have looked at has no marking of proper sump water level. They have a minimum level for internal water but not external. So how do you figure out that level? Like I said, I don't get it.
Not sure why this is either. I would *suspect* that in most sumps the water level is higher than the skimmer can handle. I tried to have mine on the bottom but because for whatever reason my skimmer output was below the level it claimed to be at, I had to raise mine up on a little PVC / eggcrate stand. The skimmer output should be above the water level, not sure what the min. water level matters except obviously it has to cover the skimmer pump. And I have also always heard there is a "range" the water level should be at so obviously there is a minimum recommended level too. Now that you mention it, the skimmer does not have a sump water level marking on it - though it does have internal water level max / min markings. Huh.
 

FishDad

Superstar Fish
Mar 4, 2012
1,218
1
38
Cleveland
#19
Thanks again Caps. As soon as I read the thing about 2 inches I added another 2 inches. They were right at the water line and it is soooo much quieter now. So everything is running, except the skimmer (not here yet). All seems well. I have established a safe water level with head room when the power is off, and a desirable water level while in operation. At first the pump was out performing the overflow box, which based on specs should not be happening. So I ran to home depot and added a ball valve. Dialed in now. Other than some soon to be reconciled skimmer questions the only thing I would like some advice on is how to quiet the overflow box? The back part where the two syphon tubes dump into is noisy as hell. By the way I should mention that I am using an aqualifter. I see the value in it now that its in operation.

Thanks for all the help guys.